Tiger Woods said he was beyond playing golf amid his debilitating back issues after the former world number one broke a five-year wait for victory at the Tour Championship.
Back problems and surgeries brought Woods' career to a halt but the 14-time major champion celebrated his first win since 2013 after triumphing by two shots at East Lake on Sunday.
Woods even had to re-engineer his golf swing due to his back woes, creating doubts over whether the 42-year-old American great could return to the top, having dominated golf in the 2000s.
Having flirted with victory at the US PGA Championship, where he finished second, Woods revelled in being back among the winners in Atlanta on Sunday.
"It's certainly up there with obviously all the major championships I've won, Players, World Golf Championships," Woods told reporters. "But this is under different circumstances.
"I've explained throughout the year that I just didn't know whether - when this would ever happen again. If I could somehow piece together a golf swing this year, I felt like I could do it. My hands are good enough, and I just didn't know if I could piece together a golf swing."
Asked about the fondness for him and whether it means more now than it did previously, Woods said: "It means a lot more to me now in the sense because I didn't know if I'd ever be out here again playing, doing this again.
"I don't know, 20 years ago, hell, I thought I was going to play for another 30 years. That's just the way golf is. You can play until you're 70 years old. You see these guys on the Champions Tour playing tournament golf at 70. There was a point in time I didn't know if I'd ever do this again.
"I appreciate it a little bit more than I did because I don't take it for granted that I'm going to have another decade, two decades in my future of playing golf at this level."
"Probably the low point was not knowing if I'd ever be able to live pain-free again," he continued. "Am I going to be able to sit, stand, walk, lay down without feeling the pain that I was in? I just didn't want to live that way. This is how the rest of my life is going to be? It's going to be a tough rest of my life.
"I was beyond playing. I couldn't sit. I couldn't walk. I couldn't lay down without feeling the pain in my back and my leg. That was a pretty low point for a very long time."
The victory brought up Woods' 80th PGA Tour title and he added: "I just think any time you can get to change the decade number, it's a pretty damned good feeling."
There was also an incredible scene as a sea of fans followed Woods on the fairway en route to the 18th green as he ended his drought.
"A couple of guys thought someone holed out on the first hole. It was just me making a putt," Woods said. "The roars are a little bit louder because we just have more people. It's just going to be that way.
"I think that a lot of the guys that are playing right now in the [FedEx Cup] play-offs and then towards this Tour Championship, the top 30, are the guys that didn't really play against me when I was younger. These guys grew up watching a lot of what I did. So it's a little bit different."
14 de noviembre 2018
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